Seattle Parks and Recreation Jesús Aguirre, Superintendent
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Pritchard Island Beach
Seattle Parks and Recreation Information:
(206) 684-4075 | Contact Us TTY Phone: (206) 233-1509
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6 a.m. - 10 p.m.
ABOUT THE PARK
Pritchard Island Beach is located in the Rainier Beach area, north of Beer Sheva Park. Several large cottonwoods flutter in the breeze as swimmers head for the raft, where they spring into the air from high and low diving boards. Others just sit on the beach admiring the view of Seward Park to the north and Mercer Island to the east. You'll find this a fine, quiet complement to the Atlantic City beach to the south,since there is no boat ramp ruckus here.
All the plantings in Pritchard/Loon Wetland are native to western Washington wetlands. Look for Red-osier dogwood, fawn lilies, and Western red cedar saplings. For more information and maps to the park, please visit the Friends of Pritchard Beach web site.Acreage: 19.1
Before Lake Washington was lowered nine feet by the opening of the Ship Canal, there used to be an island south of the beach where the land now bulges out into the bay. The marshland between the island and the shore was called Dunlap Slough, The island itself first belonged to A. B. Youngs, who sold it to an Englishman named Alfred J. Prichard - hence the name, Pritchard's Island. Pritchard spanned the slough with a footbridge and developed the island into an attractive forest estate.
Before the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, the Olmsted Brothers recommended that the island and its environs be acquired to enhance the new Lake Washington Boulevard. By 1910, the year after the Exposition, the area had become so popular that a petition was flooded with names calling for construction of a bathing beach. The opening of the Ship Canal in 1917 drained Dunlap Slough, leaving more land for park nursery development and connecting Pritchard's Island to the mainland.(Excerpt from Brandt Morgan's Enjoying Seattle's Parks.)
To learn more about Seattle Parks and Recreation, including historic landmarks, military base reuse, and the Sherwood History Files, view our Park History.
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